David Friedman: Ambassador for Settlers

Candidate Trump’s May 2016 statements urging the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank did not come out of nowhere: less than a month earlier, Trump had appointed his bankruptcy lawyer, David Friedman, to advise him on Israel policy. Now Trump’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to Israel, Friedman is poised to act – with official U.S. government sanction – on his longstanding commitment to the forced displacement of Palestinians in the West Bank. Friedman funnels millions of tax-deductible U.S. dollars to facilitate Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise, supports Israeli annexation of the West Bank, denies the existence of Palestinian rights to Jerusalem, and zealously attacks anyone who takes issue with his far-right agenda. More than 600 U.S.-based rabbis and cantors have signed a letter opposing Friedman’s appointment.

The Israeli settlement of Hashmonaim behind the Wall. Credit: יורם שורק , licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC BY-SA 3.0)



Close ties to the far-right Israeli settler movement:

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  • Through his nonprofit organization, Friedman raises millions in tax-exempt U.S. funds to support the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El in the West Bank

  • Friedman’s organization is currently funding construction of a new, five-story residential settlement building on   privately-owned Palestinian land

  • Friedman defends Israeli annexation of the West Bank and does not view an independent Palestinian state as “an American imperative”

Refusal to acknowledge Palestinian rights to Jerusalem:

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  • Friedman is committed to moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, notwithstanding Jerusalem’s corpus separatum status (i.e. placement under a special international regime) under UN resolutions 181 and 194

  • If implemented, a U.S. embassy transplant to Jerusalem would represent an alarming departure from longstanding U.S. presidential policy


Contempt for dissent:

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  • Friedman advocates stripping “disloyal” Palestinian citizens of Israel – those who do not “support the state” – of the benefits of citizenship

  • Friedman characterizes boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel as “inherently anti-Semitic” and promotes “strong measures, both diplomatic and legislative, to thwart” such campaigns – a thinly veiled attempt to stifle constitutionally protected activities critical of Israel



 For more information on CCR’s work in support of Palestinian rights: http://ccrjustice.org/home/what-we-do/issues/palestinian-solidarity


Last modified 

March 7, 2017